It’s a new year, but it’s still the same prospects we’re talking about here. Before we get into the report, let’s kick this off with some news.
First up, the big thing: we were very excited to see a couple of prospects in Emil Andrae, Elliot Desnoyers, and Brian Zanetti play in the World Juniors, but with that cancelled, they were all sent home after just a couple of games. A real bummer.
Elliot Desnoyers might also be on the move. Per Jeff Marek, while it hasn't been finalized yet, it’s looking like Desnoyers may be traded to the Saint John Sea Dogs.
Also, we've got some good Phantoms news!
Wade Allison is skating with the team in practices. Played just 3 games in December after ankle injury in Sept. But elbow injury Dec 17.— Bob Rotruck (@BobRotruck) January 2, 2022
Tanner Laczynski and Ryan Fitzgerald are in Allentown. Skating on their own in the mornings before Phantoms practice. Both had hip surgery.
Just a hair over two weeks after sustaining an elbow injury, Wade Allison is back and skating with the team. We don't have an update yet on when he’ll be able to get back into game action, or if it will even be soon, but it’s something.
Tanner Laczynski is skating again too! He has a long way to go, coming back from hip surgery, but it’s a step in the right direction. Listen. Everything is weird and messy right now and we’ll take any good news we can get.
1. Owen McLaughlin
As a seventh round pick in a decidedly very weird draft last year, McLaughlin has gotten a little lost in the shuffle, and probably a little unfairly, because he’s off to a very solid to his first season with Sioux City in the USHL. He’s first on his team in scoring (and 13th in the whole league) with 13 goals and 30 points in 27 games played. He tacked on three goals and three assists as well as eight shots on goal in Six City’s three games this week. He’s cruising along well and certainly turning some heads in the process. He just switched his NCAA commitment, so next season, instead of Penn State, he’ll be off to North Dakota. He’s putting together an impressive resume, and as he looks to be picking up steam as the season goes on, he’s certainly one worth keeping an eye on.
2. Connor McClennon
On the flip side, to the surprise of no one, McClennon is still scoring a whole bunch. He picked up two goals and an assist in Winnipeg’s two games this past week, which brings him up to 25 goals and 48 points on the season. That’s good for tops in the WHL in goals, and second in overall points, behind just his teammate Matthew Savoie. He’s been nothing if not consistent this season, and he’s been on of the primary drivers of Winnipeg’s success (they’re at the top of the league standings for a reason). What more can we add at this point? He simply can't slow down.
3. Jay O’Brien
It’s been a weird season for O’Brien, as BU has been a bit up and down and he's dealt with some injury issues on his own, but this past week at least was a good one for him. With just one game on the docket for the Terriers, they came away with a pretty tidy 5-1 won over Brown, and O’Brien chipped in two assists and three shots on goal.
And really, we want to also give him a nod for doing well in a difficult game that we’re honestly a little surprised even happened. BU played this game with just 16 skaters (yes, that’s right, 16), and O’Brien was leaned on heavily in this one. Here’s hoping this can be a bit of a springboard for a strong second half for him.
Jack St. Ivany
Staying in the Boston area for a bit longer here, Boston College got back from their break this week, picked up two nice wins over Mercyhurst and Dartmouth, and St. Ivany played quite well in both of them. He picked up a goal and an assist in this pair of games, and continues to serve as on the BC’s more consistent players. He’s up to 17 points in 18 games played, and he’s looking like he’s off to a strong start to the second half of the season.
The Phantoms, somewhat inexplicably with the sheer volume of players they're missing right now, are on a bit of a hot streak, and with Cam York just called up to the Flyers’ taxi squad, Zamula has had an even bigger chance to step up, and he’s done that quite well. He chipped in two assists in Friday’s win over Utica, and continues to make nice strides in his game.
Now, there’s still some work that needs to be done in terms of puck management and choosing his spots to knock down a bit of risk in his game, and while that progress hasn’t quite been a straight line, it’s coming along. And we’ll absolutely take that.